My Grand Adventure ~ by Jeannette Giglio

 

We called ourselves, “Il Volo’s Fabulous Five…”

 

We landed in Rome on May 10th. The Rome Concert was our first, on May 12. It was better than any I had seen in the states. Il Volo is more comfortable on stage in Italy and the audience responds with singing along, as well as clapping. When we went to the 19113905_1977407632503664_7370121447132028124_nmeet and greet they were happy to see us. We had badges on with Il Volo’s fabulous five, our name, and the state we come from. We wanted them to know who we were and not forget us. We told them we were going to several of their concerts in Italy and they were happy to hear that.

We left Rome on Saturday 5/13 with two cars to Montepagano in Abruzzo. That is the little village where Gianluca lives. We spent the night at a B&B and the woman who ran it spoke no English, and us five together speak about 10 words of Italian. She was delightful and through hand gestures and Google Translate on our phones we got along just fine. The next day we went to the tiny church where Gianluca and his family attend. He was not there of course because they were on tour. We walked the streets of the little village and the people in the square treated us like super stars. They came out of the woodwork to greet us. It was just an amazing day. And the beauty of the tiny village was more than we could have even expected. It sits on top of the mountain looking down at the City of Roseto and the Adriatic Sea. The next day we went to Roseto and stayed three days in a beautiful hotel on the beach. It was just amazing. During that time, we went to our second concert in Ancona. Again, they were terrific. We met up with friends and it made our days there so very special. We also went to Marco Cardelli’s Dad’s Pizzeria, Don Franchino’s which was fabulous. Joanie, Suzana and their friend joined us and it was a great time had by all. Please forgive me for forgetting your beautiful friend’s name Suzana. I just met so many people and sometimes the names just do not stay with this old mind.

We left Roseto and went on to Assisi to the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, well almost. We did go to one Cathedral which was beautiful, but was not able to go to the Basilica where Il Volo sang on Christmas a few years ago. There was no parking and we just had to move on down the road. The beauty and history were great. From there, to Bologna, which was a short overnight stay, and then on to Verona.

OMG! Verona was just a magical place. I could go on for hours talking about all that happened there. We spent three days in Verona and went to two concerts in the Arena. The Arena was a sell-out crowd which was loud and fun, they made the boys come alive and they were even better than in Rome or Ancona. They just get better with each concert.  At the meet and greet Gianluca shouted “here come the Americans” and then all three sang our National Anthem. We sang along with them and so did the Italians. It was so special that we had tears in our eyes. We watched a Soccer game in the square with about three thousand people. Wow, when their team won the crowd went crazy and in a good way. They sang, and they marched up and down the square. It was just amazing to watch. Then in the middle of all this happening we ran into Gianluca and his family. He was quick to give hugs and kisses and so did his mother. So much going on in Verona that I just cannot put it all in. We met so many friends, there was even an antique Race Car exhibit going on the first day we were there.

From Verona, we flew to London for three days and attended the concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This is like Radio City Music Hall in NYC. You know you have arrived when you play the Royal Albert Hall. They again were happy to see us and gave us lots of hugs and kisses and thanked us for coming to London to support them. Gianluca gave me a hug and cheek kisses and thanked me for having the fan convention in Las Vegas which was last year, I was so surprised when he thanked me. It truly was very special that he remembered me from the Fan Faire. We toured London on the big double decker bus and toured the entire city. Another beautiful concert and Il Volo shined at the Royal Albert Hall.

From London, we flew to Palermo, with a short lay over in Rome. There we had a driver for the rest of our tour of Italy. He picked us up at the airport and we spent part of the day in Palermo and saw the sights and ate at an outdoor restaurant on the beach. Just beautiful. He surprised me. I had told him my father was born in Villabate just a few miles from Palermo center. He took us to Villabate and I was able to walk the streets and saw where my dad grew up before coming to America. In the square, there was a plaque with my father’s Great Grandfather and his Grandfather’s name. Wow that made me cry. We went by the meat market that is owned by the Giglio’s and they are my cousins. They would be the grandchildren and great grandchildren of my Grandfather’s brother Tommaso, who stayed in Villabate. I did not go in and introduce myself because I was with the other ladies and I knew if my cousins knew I was a Giglio from the States, they would want to spend time with them. We had a schedule to keep.

It was then on to Marsala, where we spent two day in a beautiful B&B right on the Square of the city. Oh, so beautiful. This is the home town of Ignazio. We went to the beach which was just beautiful. Met up with some friends we know from Facebook which was delightful. Two days did not seem enough time to enjoy the sights. We did a lot and then it was time to leave and on to our next destination.

Naro was the next stop – home town of Piero. Tiny little town with narrow streets. Amazing how our driver would drive without a care in the world as we kept our hands over our eyes. We went to the top of the hill and there was the Castle where Piero has his Museum. We spent a lot of time there and the two young ladies that showed us around were just so cute. They spoke no English but our driver did all the translating for us. They then wanted us to go back to town and meet their dad. They took us to a little restaurant and the dad treated us like we were long lost relatives. We had a great time, food and drinks. We had a B&B in a vineyard there in Naro. OMG, was it beautiful. It was probably the most beautiful B&B we had stayed in. It was hundreds of years old and the view was amazing. High on the hill overlooking the town of Naro. We had only stayed there overnight, but wished we had planned one more day at least.

Next was Siracusa. We stayed in a beautiful hotel there and it had a Romeo and Juliet balcony overlooking the square. It was just wonderful to be able to hear the music and sound of the city from our balcony. We spent a lot of time taking pictures and enjoying a restaurant by the sea. We were outside and we planned to only order drinks. They 18582570_10202831851873245_413411820531021061_nbrought the drinks along with enough food to feed an army. We never did bother to go to dinner because what they brought us for happy hour was a full meal. I was sorry to leave Siracusa so soon, again I could have spent a few more days enjoying the different areas around the city.

Next on our grand adventure was a flight to Malta. What I beautiful island it is. Our first day was pretty much taken up with the flight there, getting our hotel room, dinner and taking in the view of the area. We met up with Madeline and her friend Tanya on our second day there and they showed us the beautiful areas of Malta and a lot of history. It was a beautiful day. On the third day we took a boat cruise that was very enjoyable along with a bus tour. The bus tour was not quite what we expected and we were tired after that long tour on the bus and was ready to relax. Madeline came back that evening and we had a wonderful visit . She is delightful and we enjoyed spending time with her and her friend. It was a whirlwind adventure but a fun filled three days. Back to the airport and on to Taormina.

We are now leaving for Taormina, the true gem of our entire trip. Again, the narrow streets, but our driver had no problems with them. We were dropped off at our B&B which was in the center of all the action. Our apartment was just a few steps from the Bambar and the restaurant where the Il Volo group family, friends, and management team hangs out. We met up with Piero at the Bambar, and he chatted with us for quite a while before leaving for his apartment. We later ate dinner at the same restaurant as the Il Volo group and after dinner they put on a mini concert. Singing and laughing and just having so much fun entertaining everyone there. It’s hard to believe that they are superstars and yet the next night here they are at the Greek Theater and you know that they are superstars and powerhouse entertainers. We went to three concerts and each one better than the last. They were energized by the crowd and gave their best performances because of it. Taormina was my favorite place in all of Italy. So beautiful and five days was not enough. I could stay there for a week and just enjoy all the beauty Taormina has to offer. But I will again make sure there is an Il Volo concert in Taormina after all they make the vacation worthwhile.

Our grand adventure came to an end, but all five of us have left our hearts in Italy. It is, after all, Il Volo-land. It was wonderful going to see their towns in which they live. It brought us closer to them in our hearts. It was great to meet so many of our Facebook friends throughout our travels and most of all it was so exciting to see Il Volo in concert in the grand halls and arenas, and the smiles on their faces when they recognized us. It truly was, “THE GRAND ADVENTURE for IL VOLO’S FABULOUS FIVE!”

Ciao!

Jeannette…

JEAN MG TAORMINA 1

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “My Grand Adventure ~ by Jeannette Giglio

  1. Dearest Jeannette, Thank you for your fantastic summary of your Italy trip…your descriptions allowed me to pretend I was there too…haha I am truly happy, happy for you, I know how much you wanted to return to family’s home country♥♥ The ‘boys’ will forever know the beautiful ‘Americans’, who traveled so far to visit. Hugs and Love to all! ♥♥♥

    • Yes Harriett, I have always wanted to go to Sicily and see where my father was born… That was quite an emotional experience…

      Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca truly made us feel welcome each and every time we met up with them whether it be on the street, in the restaurant or at a meet and greet… They are very special young men with such loving hearts…

  2. Oh what a great adventure you ladies had. And you were able to meet up with Gianluca and Piero besides the meet and greets. How great for you all. Appears to have been a dream vacation to me.

  3. words cannot describe the wonder of your tour. You represented all of us who couldn’t be with you. Joanie G

  4. Wow, what a trip! It is truly wonderful the way Italians welcome strangers with open arms. Sounds truly lovely. And exhausting!

    • I have been to many countries over the years and I have to say that Italy has the warmest and most charming people … Italy is a beautiful country and so are the people…

  5. It was a very exciting experience, I am sure. I have been to Italy several times but – at those times – did not have connections like Il Volo to check into. That would have made my trips far more exciting. To know the locations and the people and the environment that those guys grew up with and still live with today can help us fans to understand even more the music they do.

    • You are so right Myron, to meet the friends and family of each of our guys in the towns they live in… To see how they are loved in those towns not for the celebrity but for their wholesome and loving ways just makes you realize how very special these three young men are… They are more than just three great singers, they are three magnificent young men with loving hearts for everyone…

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jeanette, for another one of my “arm chair” visits to Italy. It had to have been a dream come true for you.

  7. Jeannette, I loved reading all about your trip!! Also it was wonderful meeting you, Daniela, and the other Flight Crew members in Verona on May 19th. The concert and the meet and greet were great. Although the boys didn’t sing the National Anthem to us, Gianluca asked us where we were from and when we told them that we were from Boston they all gave us big hugs and kisses and apologized for the concert getting cancelled in Boston because of the snow and they were very grateful that we traveled all the way to Verona to see them!! We only spent one night in Verona because we were on a tour and had to get back to our group in Venice, so we didn’t see much of Verona and are planning to go back next year. Taormina is also my favorite place in Sicily. Hope to see the boys there in concert someday. Also love the Bambar!!

    • Mary, me too, I was very happy to meet you in Verona, you are the first of the group I saw and it was really nice.
      I hope so much that we will meet again in Verona. Meanwhile, I’m planning a trip to Sicily, especially Taormina.

      • Daniela, if you haven’t been to Taormina before, you will love it. It is the most beautiful place. Have a granita at the Bambar! Also, the tour we are thinking about for next year goes to Brescia along with Verona!

      • I’ve been to Sicily only once, 39 years ago, I saw Taormina that is wonderful, but I did not see the Bambar. I would say a granite at Bambar in August is perfect !!
        How beautiful that you come to Brescia, we will surely meet you.

    • Yes, that truly was one of the very special things about this Italy adventure… Meeting you and so many more of our Il Volo family in person was just so exciting… I am glad you saw them in Verona… That setting was magical… No one can imagine the feeling of being in there and not only hearing Il Volo sing Grande Amore at the end of the concert, but to hear Thousands of of their fans singing along with them… I found myself singing the entire song as well… It was an emotional experience for sure…

      I, like you left my heart in Taormina… It is so beautiful and the people were charming everywhere we went… I too hope that someday you will go to Taormina to see Il Volo in concert…I felt their grandest concerts were there in Taormina… I think it is a very special place for them too…

  8. On a different subject, there are terrible fires in Messina, Italy. For those of you that are not sure where that is, it is on the Eastern coast of Sicily.
    Ignazio and Piero both tweeted about it this morning. People are trapped with fires all around them,and the firefighter’s are having a hard time getting to them.
    PLEASE PRAY FOR THEM 🇭🇺🙏

    • Thanks to Jill, for your prayers, the situation has been very serious, but now everything is under control.
      It is devastating to think that these fires are wicked.
      Many hectares of woods have been lost.

    • Jill, you are so right, Sicily needs all our prayers … These fires are devastating Sicily … Please keep Sicily in your prayers.

  9. Jeannette, I’ve already had the opportunity to tell you how beautiful your trip was and how all of you have been strong in this adventure.
    I am very pleased that Italy and the Italians liked you, especially three of them, you
    could see them in their land and appreciate their qualities off the stage.
    In this great journey I also had the pleasure of meeting you in Verona, meeting fast, just to know us but now we have saluted a good friendship.

    • Daniela you made me feel like a good friend through your personal emails to me long before we met… But meeting you in Verona strengthen that friendship and I know that we shall meet again and we will spend time with each other … I truly look forward to having that happen some day …We are family, Il Volo family and there is nothing better than that.

  10. Jeanette I loved reading your travelogue of your Italian trip. So special that you saw so many places, so many concerts and had a chance to interact with the guys. It sounded so fun. Do you remember meeting my husband and I in Verona on May 20? Your group was having dinner at a restaurant by the Arena and we chatted briefly as we passed by your table . We had dinner at another restaurant nearby, but I must admit I was almost too excited to eat. We got into the Arena about 20 minutes early to watch the Arena fill up and we saw most of the guys families sitting nearby. Exciting evening and extraordinary concert.
    Italy is a beautiful and inviting country. I hope to see more Il Volo concerts there. And maybe see the fab 5 at another fan faire??

    • Janet, I was so excited to meet you… I remember when you walked up to me I was so surprised… You made my day… I dinner had just arrived so we did not have time to chat more than a few minutes, but that is what is so great about the Flight Crew. We are family and no matter where we are we find each other… The Verona concerts were extraordinary for sure… The fans just erupted when our guys sang Grande Amore… And Il Volo shined like the stars that they are…

  11. Jeanette, your trip was amazing. A trip of a lifetime! Reading this was like traveling right with you. Thank you! Thank you!

    • Thank you Jane, that was what I had hoped for… I wanted to share my adventure with the flight crew and if you enjoyed it than I accomplished my objective…

  12. Jeannette – So thrilled and happy for you to be able to go on this trip! It’s too bad you didn’t introduce yourself to your relatives though, may have been fun and worth a little extra time. Your 3 Taormina concerts sounded just heavenly. Not sure anyone will be able to top this trip the 3/5 of you had.

    Everyone who visits leaves a little bit of their heart in Italy….

    Until the next time!

    jana

    • Thank you Jana, it was a grand adventure for sure… The next time in Sicily I will make the time to visit my cousins…. This time was not the time to run in and introduce myself and leave… It would not have been in good taste to do that for I know they would have wanted me to get to know them rather than just a hello and goodbye… But there will be a next time so I am not disappointed at all…

  13. Thank you Jeanette for sharing your wonderful trip! To attend so many beautiful concerts and meet Piero, Iignazio and Gianluca and visit their lovely towns surely must be the trip of a lifetime. It seems that everything was well planned and went perfectly. To see them in Taormina must have been amazing!

    • Thank you Margaret, yes it was amazing … When we planned our trip, our objective was to see the towns that Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca lived in… We are friends of some of their friends through social media such as twitter, instagram and facebook… So when we made mention of our upcoming trip to Italy, so many of their friends wanted to meet us in person… So when we went to Montepagano, Roseto, Marsala and Naro, we were able to meet up with people who knew the guys and they all had stories of how wonderful our guys are and how much they love their towns and the people in them… That just made Il Volo more dear to our hearts… We were so glad we were able to see their towns and meet people who know them in those areas… It was as exciting to us as the concerts were .. Also when we shared with each of them our adventure in their towns, they were so happy that we took the time to go to towns of which the live and love…

  14. Thank you all here on the flight crew for allowing me to share my Grand Adventure with you… Writing about it is like living it again… Thank you all so much for being my caring Il Volo family…

    • Caio Mary Minton,
      Enjoyed your comment about meeting Il Volo in Verona. It is nice to know they have not forgotten us here in Boston.
      Julie Bernache

  15. Oh Daniela, thank you so much for this and the pictures. I will show the pictures to Jay and see if he remembers these lovely women. I wish we had gone to more concerts in Italy. We will plan better next time I assure you. I wish I could just follow the boys around to all of their concerts. What a dream trip that would be. Their story was delightful and I dream of returning to Italy. Love and hugs for finding this. Victoria

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